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UNIFEI - Itabira Campus | GPA&A
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UNIFEI - Itabira Campus

The Itabira UNIFEI campus is founded in the same philosophy that characterizes the University: to be a model institution in academic excellence and technology. Its project reflects the idea of sustainability promoted and defended by the institution: the valorization of natural products and goods and of the surrounding features, like the topography, the trees, the existing landscape, the springs and lakes. The propositions and interventions invite the visitor to take action and to participate in all the aspects of conservation, as it turns the spaces into places for learning.

The intention is to build a university campus with exceptional quality in terms of infrastructure, integration with Nature and social interaction. In such place, the equipments are instruments for socialization and community life, which gives the place an identity and improves the appropriation of the spaces. The coexistence lounges, for instance, not only stimulate the meeting of people, but also allow for an image of the whole.

The setting of the buildings aims at the maximum sun exposure and the best position relating to the wind and the contour lines, assuring minimum earthworks on the original terrain. In the unbuilt areas, the natural slope will be preserved as conservation areas. The lake will be emphasized in the complex, reinsuring its importance within the institution’s environment.

The usage and contemplation of the spatialities and landscapes are the beginning of a corresponsibility pact. The true guardian of the environmental, cultural and urban heritages is that who, in his spontaneous relation with the spaces, builds his own belonging and transfers to them his expectations of public life.

Equipments promoting culture, leisure and the integration with Nature are going to be present all around the space. Educational treks, a theater, a library, restaurants and a sports center are there to be used not only by the students, but by the community as well.

The use of public transportation will be encouraged with the creation of an intermodal terminal that marks the restriction of private vehicles inside the campus and offers alternative means of transportation. Walkways and cycleways will also be built to support sustainable mobility. That makes for plenty of low-speed ways, suitable for contemplation and fruition.

The main public attractions will be located apart from each other, making possible their simultaneous use in different events. Two main entrances allow for better access control and the possibility of using the complex without the need of crossing the whole campus, thus lightening the infrastructure.


In the school buildings, the formal spaces become informal. The buildings have no strict limits, so as to obey the PBL (Problem-Based Learning) pedagogical system the University employs.

The architectural design approach used followed the golden ratio as a means to confer unity and harmony to the building at once. The set was organized so as to create a convergence center, bolstering the notion of a meeting space.

The sheltered internal patio, the open patio connecting the structures and the connection with the Cultural Platform building clearly express the different integration scales of the complex. Besides, the building’s volume lets the winds go through. The modulation of the buildings allows for better control of the costs and makes it easy to build new blocks.


Built as a leisure and culture complex, the Cultural Platform lodges a theater, a library, living rooms, service areas and the University’s administration. The building was thought as a campus landmark, located on a very central area and visible from anywhere in the complex.

The different uses of the building are set apart by gardened open areas that promote natural lighting and ventilation. The many conviviality spaces promote the meeting of the users.


Composed of an indoor sports gym, an aquatics center and open-air courts, the sports center is located next to one of the main entrances of the campus, with easy accessibility.

Planned as a place for major sports events, the complex has dressing rooms, a press room, a medical care unit and a lounge for the athletes. The students can use the building regularly, as it also has an exercise gym and classrooms.


Located next to the preexisting science building, the technology park will lodge business incubation centers to connect the students and researchers with the market.

The access is made easy by the parking lot adjacent to the building. The park is divided into three blocks, which allows for a staged, more viable building process.


The campus prefecture building helps in the daily functions of the University. Located next to one of the main entrances, it works as a materials and equipments distribution center and as a logistics center, thus reducing the traffic of heavy vehicles within the complex. It is also a maintenance center.

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Project name: UNIFEI – Itabira Campus
Architecture: Gustavo Penna, Norberto Bambozzi, Laura Penna, Priscila Dias de Araújo, Marcus Flávio Martins, Alyne Ferreira, Catarina Hermanny, Natália Ponciano, Alice Leite Flores, Ana Isabel de Sá, Hiromi Sassaki, Naiara Costa, Henrique Neves, Fernanda Tolentino, Carolina Castro,Ravi Motta, Oded Stahl
Location: Itabira – Minas Gerais – Brazil
Year designed: 2011/2012
Projected area: approx. 95.000m²
Images: Casa Digital